In his fourth collection of film writings, Stanley Kauffmann, distinguished film critic of the New Republic and theater critic of Saturday Review, once again shows himself to be one of our most intelligent and perceptive commentators on the cinema. Before My Eyes covers the years 1974 through 1979, years that produced works as diverse as Manhattan, Effi Briest, Nashville, 1900, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. While this period may not have seen the emergence of directors with the stature of an Antonioni, a Bergman, or a Kurasawa, a number of remarkable reputations, notes Kauffmann have been made.
Among the many fills reviewed here are those of the artists of the new German Cinema (Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders), the chronically promising but frustrating group of young American directors (Spielberg, Coppola, Mazursky), directors whose styles and subjects have provoked fierce controversy (Bertolucci, Altman, Wertmuller) and, of course, the most recent projects of recognized masters (Fellini, Bergman).
Other essays deal with the appreciation of classics such as Roman Holiday and 8 1/2, critiques of a number of recent film books, and the careers of two exceptional actors, Charles Chaplin and Sir John Gielgud.
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